Sunday, 19 February 2012

Le Marais, Paris, France

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Summer play time in Place des Vosges

The Marais, Paris:
I moved apartments so many times when I was living in Paris that I know many of its arrondissements like the back of my hand.

My last apartment before leaving for Italy was located in the Marais and is undoubtedly one of my favourite areas of Paris.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Vintage on Place des Vosges

Many of the districts in Paris have a distinct village feel to them and if you never wanted to venture further than your own arrondissement you would still have everything that you could possibly need or desire within a short walking distance.   It is this intimate village atmosphere that I miss in my daily life when I am not there.

Whenever I moved to a new area of Paris, the first thing I did was to put on my walking shoes and explore every nook and cranny, to find all my 'special' spots that would sustain me in my daily life.

Finding the best coffee and croissant was always number one priority on my list, followed by the yummiest pastries, the freshest fruit and veg (this is very often the closest open air market), my favourite café terrace, the best baguette sandwich, the local cheese shop..... there were of course other non food related necessities to find but they were always a little less important to me somehow.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
The gorgeous architecture of Place des Vosges

For me the heart of the Marais district is undoubtedly the Place des Vosges, it is hard not to love this beautiful historical square and there are many ways to enjoy it.....wander into the many art galleries or cafés, browse the vintage shops and boutiques, enjoy a picnic on the grass or visit the Victor Hugo Museum. The atmosphere always seems to be relaxed and happy and it's a great place to bring the kids, they love the sandpits, play equipment and fountains.

The Marais spreads over the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and is an area of great historical importance and beauty. It became the fashionable area for the aristocracy back in the 16th & 17th Centuries, hence the abundance of magnificent hotels (mansions) that we can still see today.  After the revolution of 1789 the area was abandoned and left to rot, and it wasn't until the 60's that the restoration commenced and the Marais was returned to its former glory and has since become one of the most fashionable areas of Paris.

It is importantly also one of the few areas of Paris that was not razed by Napoleon III's modernization program which saw Baron Haussmann re-plan medieval Paris (1853 - 1870) to its current city plan (long wide boulevards and parks), and is why the Marais still retains its small cobbled streets and authentic Parisian atmosphere, as well as some of the few remaining medieval buildings in Paris.

Here are some of the places that I loved (and still love) to visit and which were also part of my daily life in the Marais, you may also enjoy them. 

Museums and galleries
82 rue François Miron
Permanent and visiting exhibitions as well as a great library, bookshop and café

62 rue St Antoine
A magnificent example of 17th Century Louis XIII architecture, and was the home of one of Henri the IV's ministers. Enter either from Place des Vosges or from rue St Antoine. Enjoy the gorgeous little garden and wonderful book shop. Also housed here is one of the two Jeu de Paume museums of Paris,  which host some great photographic exhibitions. 

Hotel Salé
 5 rue de Thorigny
 Closed until summer 2013

23 rue de Sévigné
A museum devoted to the History of Paris. This is a must do in my opinion not only for the museum and gallery of artwork but for its architectural beauty and its gardens.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012

Looking to the street from the Square Georges Cain on rue Payenne
Cafe / Bistro / Restaurants
Au Bouquet St Paul
85 rue St Antoine
Love the ambiance here, and try the crèpes, a friend of mine couldn't get enough of them and I found her here every morning during her week in Paris.

Chez Janou
2 rue Roger Verlomme
One of my favourite places to have a drink and eat. Book if you want the terrace on a summer night or arrive early.

Les Temps des Cerises
31 rue de la Cerisaie
A tiny place buzzing with locals so arrive early for lunch, great value.

Village Saint Paul
rue Saint Paul
A village within a village, wonderful bric a brac, vintage, antiques, art and little places to eat and drink. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of my favourite place for  coffee and cake but look for the winiest place tucked into a corner and you will have found it! 

Ma Patissière

© Copyright Millie Brown 2012
Au Petit Versailles du Marais
1 rue Tiron and François Miron 

Pastries / Desserts / Coffee & Tea
Le Loir dans la Théière
 3 rue des Rosiers
Settle in here for the afternoon, a comfortable, cozy and eclectic café that serves great heart warming desserts.

Mariage Frères 
click here
30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
Its a tea emporium, museam and tea salon with beautiful pastries. Visit even if you don't have time to sit and indulge. I always buy my tea here and take it with me wherever I am in the world.
(This is one of only many Mariage Frères emporiums in Paris)

Little specialty food store
Produits Exotiques
30 rue François Miron
It is like stepping back in time, its tiny but it has everything (even my favourite french olive oil from Les Baux )

Square Leopold Achille
rue du Parc Royal

Square Georges Cain
rue Payenne

Place du marché St Catherine
off rue d'Ormesson
Tree lined tiny quaint square with numerous restaurants and only a few steps away from the Place des Vosges.

Food markets
Le Marché des Enfants Rouges
The oldest covered market in paris.
39 rue Bretagne
(Not open Mondays)
click here for opening hours

Bastille Market
Boulevard Richard Lenoir
Situated in the 11th arrondissement but two steps from the Marais area.
The biggest outdoor food market in Paris and in my opinion one of the very best, its wonderful, don't miss it.
(Thursdays and Sundays until around 2.30pm)

rue Saint Antoine
They are a chain, and I love them.  I have always found the staff to be friendly and helpful and they have a good selection.

Department Store
BHV (Bazaar Hotel de Ville)
52  rue de Rivoli
Called as such because it is opposite the Hotel de Ville
You can find anything your heart desires here.... from cosmetics to hardware items

Favourite Streets
rue des Rosiers 
rue Francs Bougeois
rue Vieille du Temple
rue St Paul
rue Bourg  Tibourg

There is so much to discover and enjoy in this area of Paris as there is in all of the other corners of this gorgeous city, enjoy!

Millie xx


  1. Absolutely beautiful pictures, Millie! I've never been to France but I dream of one day visiting - so your lovely photographs help me dream that bit more :)

  2. Thank you Chrissa (a tad bit creative), dreams do come true, so enjoy :-)))

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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